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Nat Immunol. 2012 May 6;13(6):560-8. doi: 10.1038/ni.2301.

Tespa1 is involved in late thymocyte development through the regulation of TCR-mediated signaling.

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Institute of Immunology, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China.


Signaling via the T cell antigen receptor (TCR) during the CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive developmental stage determines thymocyte selection and lineage commitment. Here we describe a previously uncharacterized T cell-expressed protein, Tespa1, with critical functions during the positive selection of thymocytes. Tespa1(-/-) mice had fewer mature thymic CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, which reflected impaired thymocyte development. Tespa1 associated with the TCR signaling components PLC-γ1 and Grb2, and Tespa1 deficiency resulted in attenuated TCR signaling, as reflected by defective activation of the Erk-AP-1 and Ca(2+)-NFAT pathways. Our findings demonstrate that Tespa1 is a component of the TCR signalosome and is essential for T cell selection and maturation through the regulation of TCR signaling during T cell development.

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